Our Vision Alive
An inspiring and inclusive community hub, leading global citizens
Inspiring our children
Throughout each day all teachers and support staff who work directly with our children can be heard informally reflecting on their very best lessons and sharing their ideas on what inspires all our learners. Metropole embrace the unique skills and talents of their staff and there is a culture of sharing good practice at every opportunity so that all children can learn through quality experiences. Non-teaching staff play a vital role in keeping the school on their improvement paths and teachers’ value highly the contributions they make to their school’s successes. PD is a central feature of our school and ongoing training is focused on a small number of key priorities to enable staff to try out new things, whatever they may be, reflect on their learning, then embed those strategies they see adding value.
The very highest expectations
Children arrive at the school entrances every morning looking very smart in their school uniforms. All of them are well rested and have eaten a breakfast so they are ready to enjoy the day’s activities. At the primary entrance families gather, children play then enter school safely in an orderly fashion. Relationships are hugely important to us all and our partnerships with our families are very positive. At the secondary entrance many students exchange conversation with the members of staff on duty supervising their arrival; after all, making conversation is such an important life skill.
Community, culture, ethos and values… Who we are
All students arrive promptly at their classrooms where they are greeted warmly by their class teachers. With a focus on preparing for the day ahead time is not wasted, and the community spirit is tangible. Some students have already been to the library to do some extra reading or widen their knowledge. Nobody has made them go; they are motivated to improve themselves and achieve their ambitions. Our children learn to be independent from an early age, as this will help them be successful scholars. For some students it is an assembly that is the first activity of the day and this is an important event. It is a golden opportunity to build community, to consider global events and reflect on issues raised. Our shared values of Respect, Empathy, Compassion, Helpfulness & Leadership are celebrated, as is the UAE’s culture and values. Of fundamental importance to us all is community spirit and how our moral values that we learn through our interactions help us become responsible, morally upstanding, citizens.
Our quest for knowledge
Following a productive start to the day lessons begin promptly, right across the school for everyone. Each follows an agreed format with our collective high expectations for behaviour shining through. Lessons have been planned to inspire but there is no prescribed approach to the structure of lessons, as our teachers are incredibly creative and know precisely how best to inspire students in their care. The school’s’ PD is seen clearly in all lessons with teachers and their assistants trying out new ideas. Many teachers, assistants and students are involved in action research projects as, at Metropole school, we all believe innovation plays a crucial part in driving up the quality of teaching to even higher levels. The willingness to share and learn from each other is tangible and such a key feature of our school. A visitor walking around would notice that classroom doors are open and that colleagues regularly take the opportunity to observe each other to learn best practice and reflect on their own pedagogy.
The emphasis of all lessons is on learning and although teachers and their assistants have a detailed understanding of each child’s progress, it is the fascination of the subject that is key and not a grade! Students are not expected to ‘feel the pressure’ to achieve, they achieve because they love learning. Teachers and students in all year groups explore topics together around the central question of ‘WHY’ and timely intervention is used to ensure each child develops a deep understanding of their learning. Feedback of course is crucial when it comes to reaching even higher levels of achievement and there is a common language of learning around feedback in Metropole school, so students enjoy a consistent approach.
Connecting our learning to the world around us
During lessons students work incredibly hard as they are so deeply engaged by the activities offered. Learning is challenging and teachers and their assistants encourage thinking beyond what is obvious. Students are expected to rise to this challenge and push themselves to higher levels of achievement. Everyone in the room is busy and there is a buzz of enthusiasm driving the learning excellence forward. Our students have a growth mindset and believe their intelligence is not fixed but instead is organic. They eagerly look to challenge themselves with increasingly more demanding work, taking pride in the depth of understanding they develop in making mistakes and treating these as learning opportunities.
The importance of literacy and numeracy
Literacy is central to every lesson and teachers and assistants develop literacy at every opportunity. The meaning of key words is explored, and students are encouraged to articulate their understanding of words, so their vocabulary repertoire grows along with their ability to express themselves fluently. It is clear that every teacher and learning assistant is a teacher of literacy so that learning is accessible. Where activities allow, numeric understanding is also developed across the age range and there is a common language around the teaching of literacy and numeracy that students enjoy in Metropole school. Nobody forgets that literacy and numeracy are essential and help students to access deeper learning.
Striving for success
Students approach challenging tasks with resilience and are not put off by difficulties they may face. They show a determination to succeed and understand facing up to problems is an essential life skill. Not everyone gets it right all the time, but our students are taught it’s fine to fail from time to time. Independent learning is a common feature of lessons and students are praised regularly for ‘EFFORT’. The quality of feedback is second to none and teachers ensure feedback is acted upon swiftly so that gains in knowledge and understanding are crystal clear and that progress in learning is high. Students appreciate the consistency of feedback throughout their school and teachers and assistants know that feedback is a crucial aspect of teaching to perfect when it comes to improving outcomes.
Our inspiration and pride
Leaders at all levels enter classrooms unnoticed to see inspirational, independent learning in action. Children discuss their learning enthusiastically and can set their learning within a real-world context. Regardless of the year group or topic being studied, children know what they are learning and ‘WHY’. A quick look at exercise books shows work of exceptional quality with attention to detail throughout. Children clearly take pride in their work and it is clear that handwriting is a focus for younger students. The time seems to fly by, it does when children are engaged, and the sense of achievement is tangible. At the end of the lesson or activity students know what they have learned is meaningful and that they have taken another step forward to achieving their ambitions, whatever those ambitions may be.
Our development as global citizens
Break and lunch come and go, and children and staff get an opportunity to enjoy a much-needed rest. A selection of food is provided by the catering teams and fresh water helps to keep everyone hydrated. Children play outside if the temperature is not too high and many staff use this opportunity to chat to them as it helps to strengthen relationships, improve communications and to build community spirit. There is still a buzz in the library, however, where many students are continuing their own learning. Master-classes are a very popular feature of every week and students have a wide range to choose from such as sporting activities, STEAM workshops, Performing Arts and other creative activities. Education at Metropole focuses on the whole child and not just academic qualifications.
Our progress and sense of community
The end of the school day rarely means an empty building as there is a huge range of things going on. Some teachers spend time reflecting on lessons and planning where to take students’ learning next. Others may be catching up with marking whilst some may be supporting students with their studies, intervening whenever it is necessary to support the children in their care to achieve their ambitions. Everyone is playing their part in helping their school to take its place at the centre of the community. When it is time for parents’ evenings the ethos of partnership with parents shines through and real dialogue that puts the learner first helps families understand how their child can achieve even more!
Our positivity in a healthy, safe, learning environment
Our learning environment is pivotal to our success and space is used wisely throughout the building. Displays are bright and colourful and add meaning to learning whilst also celebrating achievements. Premises are kept immaculately clean by a dedicated site team and all staff share this key obligation. Rooms are tidy, books are stacked neatly, and chairs are tucked in so that learning can begin swiftly. Security is paramount and our security team are on hand 24 hours a day to keep everything secure. Visitors are of course welcome, visits to exceptional schools are indeed frequent, but all are signed in and out following an appropriate procedure so that we know our children are safe.
We can achieve anything if we work as a team
Leadership at all levels is well distributed and the senior teams believe in growing their own leaders. Roles & responsibilities for leaders are clear and leadership structures are aligned to school priorities. Leaders create leaders and all staff have the opportunity to develop leadership skills in Metropole school. People feel part of a team and everyone is encouraged to contribute ideas for school improvement to ensure the school remains a reflective organisation and one determined to achieve its key ambitions. Accountability is strong and consistent and based on the philosophy of ‘support me, challenge me, coach me’ and performance management is rigorous with appropriately challenging targets that are based on each school’s improvement plan.
When children reflect on their time in their school, they will recall special memories of their time with us and know that everyone made a vital contribution in giving them the best start in life.